Knock knock: depression calling!

Bing bong bing bong bong bong bing bong (Big Ben chimes doorbell)

Me: who is it?

Depression: oh an old friend!

Me: [excited because I’ve been isolated for seven months, opens door expectantly] Oh, no. It’s you. How did you get our new address?

Depression: I can find you anywhere at any time in anyplace so anyway I’d like to talk to your husband.

Me: [through a barely opened door crack] It seems you’ve already been talking to him behind my back!

Depression: Oh, he he, yeah that. Well, I’m always around…in the garage, the workshop, sitting in his office. He and I have a pact. If he’s laying down I come visit him and ruminate along with him, kind of like meditation.

Me: I was under the impression he is meditating, at least that’s what he’s been telling me.

Depression: HA! That’s funny. He tells you he’s meditating? Oh, good one. He’s finally learned, goodness he’s a stubborn one. He’s meditating alright. Rumination, meditation, what’s the difference?

Me: I’m very disappointed, let me come out there on the front porch, I’d prefer he not know you’re here. I love him and love is stronger than darkness and depression. [I try abc hold back my nearly audible angry tears…not again I say to myself.]

Depression: Well, I got news for ya toots, he’s been cheating on you with me.

[I slip out the front door and quietly shut it behind me careful not to let it see our new house.]

Now out in front of the house:

Depression: Oh very nice inside, I’ve already seen it, been around during those inexplicable arguments, when he tells you to “leave him alone” it’s because I’m there. I’m just good at hiding. You never do see me coming do you?

Me: Oh, I think you’re not as smart as you believe. That’s when I try my best to show him love and caring, make sure he knows I’m here for him. Love heals depression. Well…That and his psychiatrist and his medication.

Depression: Well, when was the last time he had his meds adjusted or saw his psychiatrist? And if you really believe love can beat me, you’re sorely mistaken.

Me: You don’t stand a chance in hell against me. Our trust will see us through. He knows you’re lying to him he just can’t always find the strength to remember sometimes and he pushes me away for a while, but I’m stronger than you. And I know all too well when you’re around.

Depression: Ha. Stupid woman. Drugs may have worked for a while, but I think you’re really overstating your importance. More like impotence aren’t you. I know your sex life goes down the tubes so to speak when I’m around, just like his hygiene. Haha haha. Stinks, doesn’t it?

Me: you’re an asshole. Is your partner anxiety with you?

Depression: Of course, didn’t you notice he was here last week. You were at your oncologist appointment and he knew you would be gone for enough time – didn’t his son push the right buttons while you, poor thing, were getting poked and prodded three hours away. Oh, we also have a contact at your oncologist’s office.

Me: Why can’t you just pick on someone else? No, let me take that back – no one deserves to feel this way. Why don’t you just piss off and die, both of you?

Depression: Oh we wouldn’t do that, and besides we are having a great time during Covid. Lots of new recruits to play with. I mean, we can’t seem to get through to you, but there’s thousands if not millions of people who have a really hard time with isolation and not seeing friends or the people they love. Covid has taken over the hardest part of our job!

Me: This won’t go on forever – you’ll have to go back to working twice as hard again. And by the way some of us are just not going to let you in, since we have no proclivity for being depressed.

Depression: Don’t worry we are not giving up. We will eventually get in your door too. Besides there are plenty better candidates than you for now. Lots more people with cancer who will relent to that negative self talk “why me?” “What did I do to deserve cancer?” “I’m such a loser I can’t even get better with chemotherapy.” “Where did all my friends go? Why am I so alone and afraid?” Oh those are my cues to put a dark veil over their minds, let them sleep all the time, and if the cancer doesn’t kill them…

Me: You’re a sick sick thing. Go away, he’s calling me and I don’t want him knowing you’re here. I’m going to hug him and put on some of his favorite music and get him out in the sunshine today.

Depression: [nearly invisible and hardly audible] Shit, no wonder we can’t get in, he’s a little stronger and you know what we are allergic to…but I’m always around…gasp…cough…I’ll see you soon…gasp…I promise you…wheeze cough…I…

Slipping inside I slam shut and lock the front door and go to wake up my crabby morning hubby. “Honey let’s get out today I’ll make us some lattes. Take a shower and shave so I can kiss your handsome face, and let’s sing and play guitar for a while. I’m gonna put on some music.”

Meanwhile the 70 degree temperature and bright blue sky along with the birds coming to bathe in the fountain in front of the house remind me that the world is full of memories not yet made and there’s much to be thankful for. I remember that love, patience, guidance and above all a commitment to my gratitude to having our happiness uninterrupted by this other disease that lives silently in the dark corners of our life isn’t going to visit us today and I hope not for a long time to come.

May you find peace and hope in these strange and difficult days.

It’s Complicated

Leave me alone, please
and stop annoying me.
Of course I love you.
I don’t blame you
for everything.
You are pissing me
off now. Do not
make me say
something I will
regret.
Of course I want
to go to your
oncology appointment.
You never told me
what time we had to go.
You only put the
schedule on the fridge
last week.
I do accept your
calendar invitations.
Quit pressuring me
or we will definitely
not have sex.
That wasn’t a
threat.
I don’t hate you.
Why do you piss
me off by saying
such stupid things.
No, I do not contradict
everything you say.
Yes I took my med.
No I am not hungry.
I don’t sleep all
of the time.
No I did not sleep well.
Why did you let me
sleep the day away.
We do go out.
I can remember
when.
You’re crazy.
Can’t you just leave
me alone
already.

Sure. I can leave
You alone.
Conversations
never change
in a dark room
full of too many
decisions
and no answers.
I walk away
again and
make breakfast
at 3:00 pm.

Without warmth
there’s no fire.

One Fresh Hell, Hold the Tomatoes

Last week found me a visitor to a mental health facility, leaving him there each evening, heading downcast out to my car and my lonely drive home. This place just a few miles from our house, in the foothills just south of the city in an unremarkable single story building where I chose to allow supposed professional responsible human beings to rescue my ailing partner from the shackles of long term anxiety and depression. Leaving without him broke my heart and provided not a whit of relief as a few close friends hoped a “break” in the action might provide. His pained eyes looking upon my sadness as yet another judgement to come down upon me. Another multi-year term added to the #lifer hashtag slung around my neck like an albatross, another petal of hope plucked from the near bare flower of love for him in my heart.

All the while I possess the knowledge that I likely won’t live to see our future through to a plausibly happy conclusion. Even though this love is over 10 years in the making, cruel editors mangled the melodramatic script and the film itself in the can, spliced together and the story arc mangled under the cruel cinematographer’s blade. The final reels go to the studio with all of my scenes cut and lying on the floor.

I hoped for relief at the end of a long week spent alone over the course of treatment, no sparkle reappears in his eyes yet and his happiness not yet resuscitated. It takes the Zoloft about four weeks to help much.

But I’m mostly alone these days. Yearning for my partner’s support and the kind of tender and caring love many of which many metastatic sisters write and blog about, I now look over at him, home in bed, and find one whose dark, inky emotions remain locked away inside his heart, like stars behind clouds on a black night canvas. He lays there disengaged, brooding silently, interrupted by long bouts of sighing. Inside him rises the simmering anger of so many men who find themselves bitten by but embarrassed to speak of such disorders.

Sometimes, it’s just frustratingly difficult to hide my outrage for being his care giver for over three years, of which this past 18 months one of the most heart wrenching trials of my life. My god – this and cancer, too? Fuck. What more can one do but look up and ask the ceiling over our bed long and winding questions about the treacherous nature of spiritual meaning, self-worth, and the relative value of a life. I then break from the summation of my existential questioning of cogito ergo… to find an email in my inbox from someone who reaches out to me to thank me. Grateful for my honest approach to my blog posts they type out a note that reminds me of why it’s worth it to know that it’s my responsibility as a wife to make a decision to help alleviate my partner’s suffering and try to revive him, to ask the wide, wise universe that his soul be returned his body.

He, too, wants only the same for me – happiness – yet indicates we may not stay together. For fuck’s sake — why now and you have got to be joking (the only sentences I can form without punching him in the face.) These trivialities came to him exactly how? On what plane of existence does he live in that this would even be okay? Not even by a substandard, unintelligent alien culture of unfeeling assholes would this rank as logical or even just “fine.”

Then, with that comment lingering in the air as the gas he passed as he falls asleep yet again and I’m left to wonder alone, naturally, what fresh hell might await me tomorrow?

Hopefully a new sandwich called “fresh hell” from the deli and no more than that.